Independent of weight loss, carbohydrate restrictions can help improve metabolic syndrome.
We have all heard about the evils of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome has been correlated with obesity and weight gain. Dietary carbohydrate intake has been reported to independent of weight loss. Treatment of metabolic syndrome remains controversial. We continue to test the theory that intolerance to carbohydrates might contribute to obesity.
Several studies have looked at this very topic. Since metabolic syndrome increases your risk of diabetes, it makes perfect sense that carbohydrate restrictions would lower your risk of metabolic syndrome. The problem is that there is limited research to back this theory. The good news is that there is recent research to support this theory.
In the new research, researchers looked at individuals who were obese with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. The subjects were fed three 4-week weight-maintenance diets that were low, moderate, and high in carbohydrates. In the diets, the protein was kept constant and fat content was adjusted to keep the diets isocaloric without increasing carbohydrate intake.
The data in the study revealed that low-carbohydrate intake resulted in reversing metabolic syndrome. Also, the same carbohydrate restriction seemed to improve the abnormal fatty acid composition of the blood that appears to be a risk factor of heart disease and diabetes. The lower carbohydrate diet decreased plasma total saturated fat and increased healthier fats.
The bottom line: Metabolic syndrome is clearly tied to heart disease and an increased risk of diabetes. Reducing carbohydrate intake will reduce your risk of all three, but more research is needed. I suspect that most of this risk is caused by the empty calories of processed carbohydrates and simple sugars. This discussion needs the support of another study.
- P. N. Hyde et al., “Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves metabolic syndrome independent of weight loss,” JCI Insight, Jun. 2019 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.128308